Friday, December 24, 2010

Gold, Francincense, and Myrrh

And when [the wise men] were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11
Just as the wise men gave gifts to the Christ child, we too should give our Savior gifts. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were all valuable treasures at the time, and what we give should equally be valuable.

Gold - Even today, gold is used as currency. We should give our wealth to God. One of my favorite scriptures is in Matthew 25 when Christ reminds us that when we feed and clothe the poor, we feed and clothe Him.

Frankincense - Frankincense is used as an incense. Incense represents our prayers. As we pray, we should remember that we can pour out our hearts to God.

Myrrh - Myrrh was used in Egyptian funeral practices. With death comes sadness. Christ invites us to drop our burdens at His feet so that He may bear our sorrows.

So, this Christmas, I'm going to give Christ my gold, my frankincense, and my myrrh. I will do this by helping the poor, pouring my heart out to Him, and dropping my burden at His feet.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What do you want to read?

From checking my stats, it appears that the posts I like the best and the posts that people are more interested in reading/commenting on are not the same.

When I started this blog, I had two purposes. The first was to add my voice to the Bloggernacle by blogging about my take on LDS issues, both doctrinal and cultural. The second was to have a place to work through all the law school drama I was having at the time. I'm still in law school, but the drama has passed.

So, what do you want to read about? I enjoy the doctrinal posts, though they're more work to produce than the cultural or law school posts. I don't think I'm going to eliminate any category, since they're all a part of my life, but I do want to produce content that people are interested in reading.

I have a few ideas for posts that I'm going to float around to see what kind of interest they generate:
  • I'm thinking of doing a series on the 10 commandments and how to apply them in modern life.
  • I'm also thinking of a series of posts on the articles of faith.
  • Next semester in school, I'm taking a class on Islamic Law. That might provide me with some bloggable material, though I won't know that for sure until a few weeks into the class.

Any thoughts? Are there topics you would like to hear my take on that I haven't mentioned?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Eternal Implications of the Male/Female Imbalance in the Church

I've been thinking about the male/female imbalance in the church and what that means for the hereafter. People have pointed to the fact that there are more active women in the church than active men, and they extrapolate that to the Celestial Kingdom, and then posit that there will be widespread polygyny as a result. There's a great post at BCC breaking down population statistics over time. The conclusion is that based on historical infant mortality rates, there will be considerably more men than women in the celestial kingdom.

Given those numbers, there are a few possibilities:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Comments, Spam and Otherwise

I love comments. They're validation that someone is reading what I write. Plus, they help spark discussion. I operate from a philosophy of free and open discussion. The only comments I'll delete are ones that are obviously spam or are egregiously uncivil. In the nearly four years I've had this blog, I've only deleted a handful of comments, all spam. I keep moderation on for older posts to avoid hit and run spam attacks, but sometimes they happen anyway.

Unfortunately, Blogger has just ramped up their spam filter, and some legitimate comments are getting caught. I've let them all out now. I'm telling you this because if your comment gets caught, it's not my intention to keep it from seeing the light of day.

I don't check my blog every day and I don't check the e-mail I use for this blog every day. There may be waits between when I can clear out my filter. Please bear with me while I work out the bugs.

While I'm on the subject of comments, I've decided that it's time for a comment policy. This is not a reaction to anything. My blog started out in an obscure little corner of the internet and has now been noticed by the Bloggernacle. I'm getting more traffic, and I would rather have my policy in place before I need it.

So, here's the comment policy:
1. Comments are welcome. In fact, I love them.
2. No profanity. I may excuse some coarse language in an otherwise insightful comment, but I have no tolerance for the f-word. Any comment containing that word will be deleted even if the rest of it is brilliant. Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to edit comments, only delete them.
3. You are free to disagree with me or with other commenters, but no personal attacks. Saying "Poster X is wrong about issue Y because..." is fine. Saying "Poster X is stupid/apostate/going to hell/etc." is not fine.
4. I try to respond to commenters, but sometimes that's not possible due to whatever else is going on in life. Please don't take it personally; I'm not ignoring you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More on Dating/Marriage

SilverRain has an excellent post on her blog. It's entitled Singles of a Certain Age, or What I Wish Church Leadership Would Understand. She discusses the challenges that singles in the church face and the issues involved in singles' activities. She makes the excellent point that we want to be viewed as whole people and not as fundamentally broken due to our marital state. I want to give the whole post a hearty amen!

Other great singles-related blog posts:
I wrote a post about retention of YSAs in the church and a post on the ethics of dating.
Seraphine at Zelophehad's Daughters has a series of posts about being a 30-something single in the church.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Little Housekeeping - Updated

I've had this blog for nearly four years now, so it's time for me to do some housekeeping. I'm going to tag my posts to create categories. That way, if people want to read about a certain topic, it will be easier to find related posts. I'm also going to redesign my background.

The upshot is that when I go back to edit old posts to add tags, the blogging software sometimes thinks it's a new post. So, for those of you that subscribe by Google Reader or RSS, you may get a deluge of new old posts. Sorry about that!

Update: I'm finished with the tagging and re-design. Any feedback would be appreciated. Is the blog too wide? I have a widescreen monitor, so it looks great to me, but if it's too wide for people with normal monitors, I can narrow it.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7

I've been thinking a lot about prophets lately. The belief that God continues to speak to humankind through prophets just as He did in old times is one of the beliefs that sets Latter-day Saints apart from the rest of Christianity.

When I was on my mission (in Charlotte, North Carolina), the first lesson we always taught was about how God has called prophets since the beginning of time to preach His word. We would explain that God would call a prophet to preach, the people would listen and repent, and after a while (sometimes a short time, sometimes several generations), the people would fall away. Time would pass and then God would call a new prophet. This cycle has repeated throughout human history.

Generally, this portion of the message was well-received as I went through a list of Old Testament prophets. Once I hit New Testament times, people were less convinced. By the time I explained that God still calls prophets today, few people believed what I was telling them. They said that after Jesus came, prophets were no longer necessary.

It always struck me as completely logical that since God spoke to His people in ancient times that He would speak to people today, too. That logic has led me down some interesting thought paths lately.

The church teaches of the great apostasy - the period of time from after the death of the apostles in approximately 100 AD until Joseph Smith was called as a prophet in 1820. (Technically, I think starting the apostasy at 400 AD is more accurate, since Moroni was still around until then.) With God's pattern of constantly calling prophets, why did He wait nearly 1400 years before calling another one?

Maybe He didn't. In that gap between Moroni and Joseph Smith, a lot of people lived. What if God called prophets in that time? There's precedent for people rejecting the messages of prophets, so maybe people just didn't accept what they were hearing. There's also precedent for people accepting the message but then the message getting corrupted in transmission. [1] When the whole course of human history is revealed, it would not surprise me in the slightest to find that there were failed attempts at restoring the gospel before 1820.

[1] Most of the New Testament is directed at this very problem. Paul wrote many letters trying to correct the errors that were creeping into the church.